Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I set you apart for my holy purpose. I appointed you to be a prophet to the nations. Jeremiah 1:5

My how time flies! Today is a very special day in our house, in our world… Andrew is 1 year old today. One glorious, awe filled, tiring, ever changing year ago today, our lives took and extreme turn – to the right.

There are so many things I would not recommend you do in life. For example, I would not recommend you ride your bike with no hands and attempt to roll over a big rock at the same time. That can leave a horrible scar on your face. I would not recommend picking up a piece of ash from a smoldering fire just because the gray glow is so pretty… ouch! I would also not recommend being 3 months pregnant and 3 weeks married. No, there is a reason that God has an order for things in life as George and I quickly found out.

The morning of May 13, 2008 started out like no other morning of my life. I lay awake all night trying to imagine what life would be like in the next few days as we became a family of three. How wonderful it would be to finally be thin again (because I was sure that would happen within a few days). How much fun it would be to take Andrew places and show him off. Then I started to panic at the reality of this situation. George and I would never be able to go to the movies again. We could never just fly by the seat of out pants. Everywhere we go, we have to remember to take this kid. How am I going to remember to take him when I am so prone to forgetting my keys!? I had the preverbal breakdown and cried “I’ve changed my mind!”… to late of course.

We got to the hospital at 5:00 in the a.m. and they checked me out and got me all set up. Now, I should have known the day was going to be rough when the initial exam hurt worse than anything I had ever experienced. Come to find out, I had a UTI that had gone undetected and now could not be treated until after birth. Fantastic! They came in around 10:00 to break my water with what looked suspiciously like a crochet needle… hook… dagger. Everyone told me this part was a piece of cake. Well, just FYI, I have finally found a cake I could do without. As the good Lord above as my witness, I got the epidural as a means of escaping the pain caused by that UTI.

The day dragged on and I was not dilating at all. So, around 5:00 Dr Tal came in and spoke with me about having a c-section. Mama near ‘bout fainted! He said I could labor for another 10 hours, but the c-section was going to be the likely outcome. It was a no brainer for me. So, I got ready for surgery and George & mama got ready too. I remember lying on the operating table, looking at the clock and it was 5:45 pm and I asked ‘How long will it take to get him out’? I was astounded when Dr Tal said ‘Less than 15 minutes’. I would see my baby face to face in less than 15 minutes… I cried. I sobbed!

I have never told anyone why I was crying. It wasn’t they typical tears that are cried on the day you give birth. I cried because I was minutes away from meeting the baby I had prayed to miscarry. I couldn’t be the one to get pregnant before I was married! I couldn’t disappoint everyone with such news. I prayed to miscarry before the whole world found out my hypocrisy. This is very hard to admit, hard to type the words knowing that some will read this and remember their own miscarriage. There are many who long for a baby and cannot get pregnant. There are many who have lost children before or after birth. And then there is me. Hard to admit those feelings, but they were real.

It is important for me to say that I believe God always answers our prayers! Might I also say that I will forever be thankful that He loves us enough to sometimes answer with a no! I gave birth just like any other first time mother… unaware of what was about to take place. Let’s face it, for the first month I wasn’t even sure I liked him. It took mama to point out that the feeling would soon pass. It did and it has been a ride ever since.

I have been pooped on, peed on and thrown up on. I still can’t wear most of my pre-pregnancy clothes and have stretch marks that will never go away. I have not eaten a hot meal in one full year, have not sleep a full night nor gotten through a full hour of TV. Am I complaining? No, I am not (although I have my moments). I wouldn't trade any of this for anything I had before.

I have looked into the eyes of my flesh & blood. I have heard him laugh and laughed with him. I have heard him cry and cried with him. I have jumped up and down in the excitement of a first tooth. Called family with pride when he decided he could hold his own bottle. And yesterday, wanted to take out a full page ad in the Houston Chronicle announcing he blew kisses as we left school.

Andrew was fearfully & wonderfully made, in the image of God, for a divine purpose. There is no one on this earth like him. He makes me appreciate my parents, family, husband and sleep so much more than I ever did. He makes my heart smile just thinking of him and simplicity is so much more appealing. He makes things good…

So, here we are, raising a baby in the honeymoon phase of our marriage. It’s difficult, tiring and downright overwhelming at times. I wouldn’t recommend starting out your marriage by decorating a nursery, it’s puts you into fast forward long before you need to be in fast forward. I suppose, however that being a parent at any stage is difficult, tiring and overwhelming. Would I do things different? Well, does it really matter? My sweet gift from God is 1 today, and to me, today, nothing else matters.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Her children rise up, and call her blessed! Proverbs 31:28

This weekend is Mothers Day… and if you haven’t already done so, you need to get a gift or some form of acknowledgement for your mother as well as the other women who have had a profound impact on your life. I have been celebrating Mother’s Day for… hmm, 31 years now, granted some of that time was without knowing. It is only this year though that it makes sense to me. This year I became a mother and now I get it. I get why ‘Mamas’ are to be celebrated.

My mom does not see her value at all. She would tell you that she isn’t pretty, has too many wrinkles, fuzzy hair, a bummed up foot and thanks to some local jealousy, she would also tell you that she is perceived to not be nice. None of this is true of course (well, her foot does need some work), but this is how she perceives herself. Today, in the spirit of Mother’s Day, I want to tell you how I perceive her.

When I was in 1st or 2nd grade, I had a classmate that was very poor. I didn’t realize that she was poor at the time, but I knew she was different, everyone did… and everyone made fun of her; I made fun of her. Mama found out about this and I honestly can’t remember if I got a spanking or not, but I do remember being told that I had to apologize to her the next day. The very next day, I did just as I was told and I apologized to the girl. I will never, ever forget the look on her face as she thanked me for my apology and confirmed that my teasing had hurt her feelings. I am so thankful that I was made to apologize, through that, mama taught me to be kind to people and to say “I’m Sorry” when I am wrong.

The summer before I went into 8th grade I found myself with no friends. The friends I had previously proved to be bad influences and had to be turned loose. So, as the first day of school approached my fears increased, after all, you cannot start school with no one to eat lunch with. So, mama and I prayed every night that God would send me a friend… And he did. He actually renewed my friendship with Sandy who was my best friend from the time we were 3 years old. We are great friends to this very day because God joined us as such. I look back at those few months and see mama as the person who not only taught me to pray, but to know that God hears those prayers.

When I was in High School mama made me get a job if I wanted to go Europe (Sandy went too) because I would have to pay for it. This meant sacrificing a car for a year, but it was worth it. I flipped burgers at McDonalds after school everyday and then had to be there at 4:45 every Saturday morning. Mama would stand at the door as left for work on those mornings in her nightgown until she could no longer see my taillights (I was of course driving her car) and then she would call at 5:00 to make sure I got there safely. I don’t think she ever did go back to sleep. Europe is as vivid in my mind today as it was in person 13 years ago. Mama is the person who taught me that sacrifice and hard work make the reward so much sweeter and also that teaching your child this lesson sometimes means you have to sacrifice too.

Mama didn’t work on Mondays and if I close my eyes today I can still smell the crisp, spring air coming through the open windows of the freshly cleaned house when I got home from school. Monday’s were my favorite day! Ty & daddy were working and so mama and I would always go to Burger King and get chicken tenders with ranch dressing and a coke. Then we would go see Grandma at work and spend some time with her. What was a typical Monday then (which packed on nearly 15 pounds) are precious memories now. Every child should have sweet, innocent times with their parents and grandparents. Those days passed too quickly, but Mama taught me to keep a clean house, cherish simplicity and, most importantly, to love Grandma. And I do… all three.

I soon graduated from High School, then college and quickly (seems quick now) I found myself in Virginia as a naive career girl. I thought I was a smart career woman, but I soon found out otherwise. My nice, classy coworkers were neither nice nor classy… in fact they were down right mean. My boss wasn’t much better and I found myself crying at night more often than not. I called mama and recounted numerous stories just sure I would finally have someone on my side. Not so… she would always point out what I did wrong in the situation and encourage me to either apologize or correct my behavior. She saw the mistreatment, but she knew that neither of us could force the actions of others and that I was called to be a separate people. As I worked on me – my work ethic and attitude, the situation remained the same, but I was able to weather the storm. Today, I am a much better employee and confident in my skills. Mama has always taught me know when the ball isn’t in my court and to do my job as unto the Lord.

Mama taught me to be a lady. She taught me the basics like wearing a slip when you wear a dress and also to wear a dress. She taught me to sit up straight (George is still trying to drive this point home), not to wear white before Easter, send ‘Thank You’ notes and proper manners when addressing your elders and to love my mother in law.. She taught me far more than I could ever put into words.

I must mention, however that she is not the only woman who has had great influence on my life. I could go on and on about various ladies who have played a role in me becoming who I am today. For example, two of the greatest things that I have ever learned were taught to me by Aunt Sue. First, she taught me how to chew with my mouth shut. I remember sitting at the table eating and her telling me to close mouth. I never said a word, but I remember thinking ‘if I close my mouth I will suffocate!’… The second, and most important thing I learned from her, is that if anything ever, God Forbid, were to happen to mama, she would be there, filling in the void to the best of her ability and loving us unconditionally. Every child should have a mama, but what a blessing to also have an Aunt Sue!

So, while my mom may see nothing more than wrinkles and fuzzy hair when she looks in the mirror, I see the woman I hope to become. I pray Andrew gets all the blessings that I have gotten and more. Happy Mothers Day Mama and to all the women who have blessed me for so long.